Day#120: Fitts Law and its relevance in UX

Day#120: Fitts Law and its relevance in UX

I was playing a game recently on my phone and it was so frustrating when I kept trying to exit out of an advertisment but the β€œX” was this tiny little button that even my small fingers could not seem to accurately hit correctly. The concept of this is related to the theory of Fitts law, Fitts law basically refers to how we interact with objects and the time in which it takes us to interact with the object, this is explained very eloquently by Shaheena Attarwala in her article Fitts Law in UX which I quoted below

β€œIt tracks the time it takes to point at something. Taking into consideration the size and distance of the target. Fundamentally it proves that its faster for you to hit larger targets closer to you than it is to hit smaller targets that are farther away from you.”

-Shaheena Attarwala

Here is another site breaking down how Fitts Law works as a fairly simple calculation

I am left wondering if the button from the example mentioned above is so small for a combination of reasons.  Fitts law is implemented to try force the user to watch the entire video without easily clicking the close button and dark patterns to ensure that I watch the advertising video all the way through so that the company that is producing the game can make some money on advertisements seen perhaps? In relation to the creator of Fitts law we turn to Paul Fitts who was a psychologist that later served in the Air Force. Paul Fitts implemented methods in a lot of cockpits to ensure an easy flow of productivity and ease of use for pilots. In relation to UX, it becomes important to assess ease of use and necessity as the variables to consider for Fitts law. Looking at cultural norms also helps decide on placement of items and accessibility, for example with western reading patterns we read from left to right, it would be important to allow for call to actions and general reading patterns to not completely go against this. Also going back to my example, make it easy for users to interact on the site/App etc. I find my boyfriend tends to struggle playing games on his phone, and prefers the tablet or PC. Fitts Law takes into account men’s hands are slightly bigger and buttons and UI in general need to make provisions for this. Something that the video below mentions that is very interesting is how the size of buttons can affect the outcome, for example with heavy machinery making the on button smaller and more difficult to get to will ensure it is never pressed by mistake, and having the off button large and accessible allows for emergencies when the button may need to be pressed on short notice or without an expert around to navigate the system.


I included a quick video below talking about Fitts law, for those of you who love videos. I know the best way I honestly learn about something is through video so I am working on including more video content that I look at for research with all my posts moving forward, anyway happy researching until next time.

Bye for now!

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